By Vatican News
Exactly four months on from the fire that devastated the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris – which broke out on the afternoon of 15 April – the Archdiocese of the French capital held the traditional procession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the feast of the Assumption. Beginning at the Pont Saint Louis, several hundred faithful, bearing their rosaries in their hands and singing the Ave Maria, processed to the Church of Saint-Sulpice, where Archbishop Michel Aupetit celebrated the solemn Mass.
Pope Francis’ message
At the conclusion of the Mass, the rector of Notre-Dame, Monsignor Paul Chauvet read a message sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, on behalf of Pope Francis. The message assured the faithful of Paris of the Pope’s “spiritual closeness”.
“Like a true mother”, the message reads, “Mary walks with us, struggles with us, and tirelessly spreads the closeness of the love of God. She shares the history of every people that have received the Gospel and now participates in their historical identity.” It continues, “The Holy Father also asks God, through the intercession of Our Lady, that the reconstruction of her architectural jewel might be a powerful sign of the rebirth and revitalization of the faith of those who have faith in Him. Full of hope, they will be for their families, for their communities, and in the places they live, builders of a new humanity rooted in Christ”.
Renewal of the consecration of France to Mary
During the celebration of the Liturgy, Archbishop Aupetit, in keeping with tradition, renewed the “vow” of King Louis XIII consecrating France to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The vow was originally made on 10 February 1638.